Recently, I came across a leaked image of Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 (MSIE 9) that was comparing it to Google Chrome. It brought me to think about web browsers in general and my extreme disappointment in Internet Explorer over the years. This is not a “Microsoft bashing” article as I do not believe in bashing a company because it is popular. This is just an observation from someone who spent the majority of his life working with Information Technology.
Let’s take a look at Google Chrome. It boasts about being a simple but highly functional and fast loading web browser. In my experience, it has delivered on these promises. Actually, in testing it against Firefox, Opera, and Safari, as well as MSIE, it was by far the fastest. Matter of fact, despite all of the raving I heard about Firefox, I thought at times it was slower than MSIE, even when I stripped the add-ons out of it. If Microsoft wants their new browser to compare to Chrome, they’re going to have to figure out a way to get the speed up. Admittedly, I am impatient when I am in the middle of doing writing for a book. When I have a burst of inspiration but I need to grab some information online, I do not want to get knocked out of the zone because my browser is being slow and sluggish.
Chrome has a simple interface. There aren’t a bunch of menus or other foolishness, nor toolbars to slow it down. It seems that every free program out there will add a toolbar to MSIE. This murders your connection speed, especially since most of those toolbars are monitoring your browsing habits and reporting them back to some 3rd party. Chrome incorporates some of the better functions of toolbars naturally. For instance, if you type in something that isn’t a web address, it actually brings you to Google’s search page and generates a search (instead of having a toolbar with a search field). Google looks for phishing sites and possible phony sites and will warn you before continuing, which is something that many “computer protection” toolbars supposedly do. To me, for MSIE 9 to be comparable, it needs to simplify the interface and get rid of the garbage. I want to see the pages that I’m surfing, not a bunch of menus, buttons, and toolbars.
Spell check is another key item. It exists as part of Chrome. With so much being done online, especially important things such as job applications, it would be nice to have a native spell checker in the browser as opposed to typing something in word and then copying and pasting it into the browser. It’s not hard to do that but it is a waste of time with smaller fields that have only a few word answers. Spell check has saved me from a lot of embarrassment. I’d like to see this in MSIE 9.
Add-ons to me are a mix. The capability was added to Chrome and there are a couple of good ones but I have to say, I would prefer the important functionality of add-ons to be native to the browser (although there are some nice, creative add-ons that are useful for certain people but are not useful for everyone and these should be optional). Too many add-ons cause too many problems, as I found out with Firefox and my ever slowing web browsing experience. I think it would be nice for MSIE to have the option for add-ons like Chrome and Firefox, but people need to be wary about adding too many.
I don’t think that Microsoft products are all bad. Like any other company, some of what they put out there is garbage, but other products are great (I’ve had a great experience with Windows 7 which ran old software that Vista didn’t). I hope this time around, they are able to do what I know that they are capable of doing: creating a web browser that is truly extraordinary and worth downloading.